Sanctuary

…when we last left our adventurers.

Three years is an incredibly short and long period of time all at once. A lot of the struggles and challenges we faced during our arrival here in Washington took new and more forms. Yet, we have finally found our place of sanctuary we have been seeking for so long.

I could drink coffee here forever…

The last time I wrote about one of these major chapter changes I focused a lot on the struggles we went through and it is tempting to walk through all of the continued struggles we had: several approaches to help with Haylee’s tourettes, Rylee also being confirmed with tourettes, the continued balance of Jen’s thyroid levels that often left her barely functioning at times. Then there were the financial struggles and adjustments of a move to a place that where even with our research and planning, was a lot pricier than anticipated. The several false starts of starting to do home shopping only to realize the timing and resources were not ready.

This time, I think it is more important to outline the victories, the personal growth, and the divine intervention that came along the way. I had learned that God loves us no matter what, and no level of “crafting” of my prayers could change that. It was a little disingenuous as well. I had come to rely upon the daily bread God provided, but there was still a lot of “whys” running around in my head and some bitterness. My “head” knew that God continued to look out for me and my family, but my “heart” was questioning it. This created a struggle because I considered it a lack of faith to have such a thought in the first place. It was around this time the men’s group I’ve been meeting with started reading Job, ironically (or fortuitously) enough. And here it is… Job, devout man of God, is tearing his clothes in agony and later on calling God on the carpet for such injustices against him. It was healthy and natural. Interestingly enough we don’t get the “why” answer either at the end of the book, and that just is. So it was okay for me to question, it was okay for me to wrestle, and it was healthy for me to wrestle as well. Jacob did so too.

So progress stood still for a while longer, and the struggles grew, but I knew the struggle was healthy because I was still connecting to the God of the universe and growing deeper in my relationship with Him through that struggle.

Things began to change come the beginning of the year. We made one of those “BHAPS”: big hairy audacious prayers. We would be in a house by the end of the year. We felt a leading by the spirit and made some heavy commitments. The finances looked like they would line up, so we would cut back on many of the “luxuries” and put the money away. Some months we weren’t able to put as much away due to life, and some months we put a little more. Though we were still getting a little behind the target.

Around this time a friend in my men’s group shared an amazing story. He’s a manager, pretty high up, at a large company where they were going through another round of layoffs. He was the person that had to collaborate to make some of the hard choices and then communicate that to those people. He had to let 5 people go, had the list, but said a prayer that God would intervene and waited for the next day. The following day, two people were spared from being fired. A position had opened up out of nowhere for a person to transfer to. Another volunteered an open slot they had. These things came completely out of the blue and was a testament to God’s provision.

This encouraged and inspired me to continue to strive towards this move. Things began happening. Our loan per-qualified us for more than we were budgeting and we had a very strong credit rating. A family member offered us a considerable gift if needed to help us get through the down payment. Although our original destination was not feasible, we were encouraged by the places we were seeing in an area that put us closer to Jen’s family, and pulled us out of King County where cost of living went down.

We put an offer on a house! It was a great place, on a third of an acre with an outside, fully remodeled shop that could be used as an office and a guest house. There was no garage, but we could purchase a nice shed for the extra things and leverage the “chicken coop” as well. A few extra small tweaks were needed but it looked great. The kids were excited for this place. Our offer was accepted! The home inspection was a great one.

Then, three weeks into the process, the appraisal fell through. It came back significantly lower than our offer. There was an issue about the quality rating of the house and also a conflict about the square footage of the house. There was a lot of hubbub about the quality rating. Our realtor attempted to have us change our loan type so we could still get the house, which gave us concern. We pushed harder and found out that the appraiser was right and the square footage was smaller than our town home. We walked. We let our realtor go. We were heart broken and in anguish.

We were a week away from the deadline in which we needed a home. With escrow closing, moving schedules, and a deadline for our lease, we needed something or else we would be paying extra for a month to month lease. This was admittedly a very tight and tough spot. I was reminded of what God did for my friend and the leading of the spirit that we had, so we pressed forward, giving all worries over to Him.

Monday we let our realtor go.
Tuesday we had a new realtor.
Wednesday we had a list of houses. Our new realtor highly recommended we go see them since they could move fast.

Thursday morning we had the family in the car by 7:30 AM driving 30/40 minutes away, no small feat. The first house we saw had sooo much charm. The online photos didn’t do it justice (in my mind at least 8^D). Our other visits didn’t pan out. We made an offer by 5 in the evening.

Friday morning there was a text message to go check our email. The seller accepted our offer at 11PM Thursday night! On top of this, the seller sent a letter back to us (we had sent a small one introducing our family and love of the home) indicating how she had worked with special needs kids for many years, the neighborhood raised kids with special needs and they were very accepting. She was so excited to sell the house to us! The realtor had never seen a letter come back from a seller in their 34 years of experience.

We have a garage that we can park both vehicles in, including the boxes that are there now. Our girls have their own room which space for them to spread out with their craftiness and dreams. We have a downstairs with its own separate door so that when family stays over their can have their own private suite. The yard is even bigger, fenced in, and lush with trees and plants, including a yellow rose bush, the favorite of Jen’s grandmother. There’s an “herbie shack” in the back we will finish off to make a great outdoor office for Jen in spring. There’s no more master bedroom office for me. The dogs have room to run amok. We’re even closer to Jen’s folks than the other place was. All the appliances are here. We have not one, but two wood burning fireplace/wood stoves. It is all within a budget we can maintain month to month.

Does it get any crazier than that?! Our doubts and fears as to why the previous home fell through so late in the process was answered with “watch this…” Everything is so much better than we could have planned!

It is admittedly still a bit surreal, even though we’re arriving at 2 weeks here now. There are still boxes to unpack, a few bookshelves and desks to put together, but it is home. It is ours. It is our sanctuary to laugh, cry, and dance without concern. We pray that we can be a sanctuary for others that may come across our path in the days and years to come. I don’t think I would have appreciated (and realized the blessings) all of this as much as I do if there was an “instant” move in. Maybe that appreciation was the point. I like to hug my house. 8^D

The dreams I had finally came true, even if they were 3.5 years in the making…

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